Nice Attack: Death Toll Rises As More Details Emerge
At least 84 people have died, including several children, after a lorry drove into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.
The driver ploughed through the Bastille Day crowd for 2km on the Promenade des Anglais at about 11:00pm local time before being shot dead by police, the BBC reports.
About 50 people were injured, 18 of them critically, in the incident on Thursday. One British national has been confirmed among the injured, according to the Telegraph.
Authorities said they found identity papers in the truck belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen, as well as ‘guns’ and ‘larger weapons’, the Telegraph reports.
While police originally described the incident as ‘a major criminal attack’, President Francois Hollande has said the attack was of ‘an undeniable terrorist nature’.
France has extended the country’s state of emergency, in place since November’s Paris attacks which killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more, by three months.
President Hollande said:
France is badly hit. We need to do everything we can to fight against.
All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.
Social media videos showed people running through the streets in panic, others showed bodies and the injured lying on the road.
Reports have spoken of shots being exchanged between police and those inside the lorry, but these have not been confirmed.
The president added that ‘operational reserves’ would be deployed to support security forces across the country, with particular focus on the borders.
Witness Wassim Bouhel told the French TV channel iTele that the lorry zigzagged across the road.
We almost died. It was like hallucinating … (the lorry) zigzagged – you had no idea where it was going. My wife … a metre away … she was dead.
The lorry ripped through everything … poles, trees.
We have never seen anything like it. Some people were hanging on the door and tried to stop it.
A journalist with the Nice-Matin newspaper reported from the scene that there was ‘a lot of blood and without doubt many injured’.
Officials are currently investigating whether the driver acted alone.
No group has so far claimed responsibility, however the inquiry will be handled by anti-terror investigators, the BBC reports.
Our thoughts are with all of those affected by this horrific incident.